GUWAHATI, Aug 27: The suicide of Assam BJP leader Indrani Tahbildar has snowballed into a major ‘cash-for-job-scam’ of the present state government with police arresting at least five persons, closely related to the party, for their alleged role in the recruitment processes.
BJP Kisan Morcha leader Tahbildar had died by suicide on August 11 by allegedly consuming an overdose of sleeping pills after her intimate photos with another BJP member went viral on social media.
“We arrested one more person on Saturday night. With this, the total number of arrests has gone up to five,” a senior officer of Guwahati Police told PTI on Sunday.
He, however, refused to share details saying the case is under investigation. “All the accused are in police custody at present,” the official said.
BJP Kisan Morcha joint office secretary Trishna Sharma, who was expelled from the party after the scandal surfaced, was the latest arrest in the case, registered at Chandmari police station here.
Guwahati Police had earlier arrested Anurag Chaliha, Diban Deka, Rekhanta Das and Ashim Chakraborty in the suicide case.
Deka, who was BJP Kisan Morcha’s national executive member, was arrested in October 2020 for his alleged role in Assam Police recruitment exam paper leak scam. He was expelled by the party immediately after his arrest.
The former BJP leader, who was one of the prime accused in the case and was released from jail recently, had contested Assembly polls as a BJP candidate in 2011 and was aiming to contest in 2021 too.
Das, who was relieved of all party responsibilities after his name cropped up in the ‘cash-for-job-scam’ following the suicide, was Nalbari district president of Kishan Morcha.
Chaliha, who has been expelled from BJP, was also a Kisan Morcha leader, while Chakraborty was a BJP cadre earlier and still has close links with the party.
Police initially started probing the matter as a suicide case. The scam angle surfaced after the arrest of Chaliha, from whose home scores of admit cards of various government jobs were recovered.
Meanwhile, audio clips of conversations between the deceased and her colleagues also exposed different angles of the case.
A source said these five arrested accused have named many other senior BJP leaders, including a vice-chairman of a corporation who is looking to contest the Lok Sabha polls next year, during interrogation, besides revealing much “crucial information”.
When asked about involvement of so many party functionaries, BJP senior spokesperson Rupam Goswami told PTI, “The law will take its own course. The party will not interfere in any legal and investigation matters.”
Women leaders from opposition Congress on August 24 had met Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria and demanded strict punishment against the guilty involved in the scam leading to the suicide of the BJP leader.
In a memorandum, the opposition party had alleged that the circumstances leading to the suicide of Tahbildar exposed a “ring of corruption” in the present BJP-led Assam government. (PTI)